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Old 08-08-2010, 01:44 PM   #31
tompe
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I like Le Carré but I get more enjoyment out of Len Deighton and Anthony Price. The Anthony Price books are the books I re-read most often. Jo Walton has written about this series:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/02/his...-audley-series

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But you don’t want to know why I’m re-reading them for the ninety-ninth time; you want to know why you want to read them for the first time. They’re not SF, and they’re mostly not in print. Why should you seek them out?

Well, they’re good. And they’re interesting and they are great character studies. But the reason most SF readers will like them is the way they’re informed by history. It’s not just that there’s a historical puzzle in most of the books, though there is. It’s that the way that history reflects both ways from everything is very science fictional. You have to accept that British intelligence are mostly good guys, and the Russians have a complex and ruthless plan that has nothing to do with what happened after the real 1989. That’s the frame in which the stories happen. But within that frame you have two interlocking mysteries, a set of continuing characters and relationships, often seen from a new angle, and you have a solid knowledge of history—ancient, recent and everything in between.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:28 PM   #32
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Here's another strategy for finding espionage writers you might like:

Agents of Treachery is a collection of short fiction by top espionage/mystery and spy-genre writers. An anthology like this is pretty rare — most authors in this genre don't bother because it's tough to tell a complicated tale of intrigue in often foreign lands and sometimes historical periods in short form.

I just started it and it's working well for me. The first story's by Charles McCarry and it's great writing and reading. Others in the book include Joseph Finder, Robert Wilson and Lee Child.

Alan Furst edited an anthology also, by the way, but his was novel excerpts. These are true short pieces.

Have at it!

Steve
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:11 AM   #33
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Definitely give John le Carré a try, he's the Grandmaster of Espionage. His novels are more literary than action, though. His early stuff is a little shaky as he hadn't found his voice until the mid-1970s. He was at his peak starting with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 1974 and on until the late 1980s with The Russia House in 1989. Anything you choose from that time period will be brilliant. Be warned: The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People are sequels to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, so there are some spoilers--read them in order. He's been pretty good since the end of the Cold War, but the Cold War was his forte. Of his post-Cold War novels, The Night Manager, Our Game, The Tailor of Panama, and The Mission Song are pretty decent.

Also give Alan Furst a try. He writes about espionage during World War 2. He's a very spare writer, but his atmosphere alone launches him into the realms of Literature. He's very, very good.

If you can track down a copy, also try The Turn-around by Vladimir Volkoff. It's out of print now, but hopefully some enterprising e-book publisher will resurrect it. It's the only other espionage novel I've read that even comes close to le Carré in terms of narrative, character, and themes, and I've read Trevanian, Len Deighton, Eric Ambler, Adam Hall, Daniel Silva, and Tom Clancy.

Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American (very good) and The Human Factor (good). While dealing less with espionage, The Honourary Consul and The Comedians were good as well. I'm not much of a fan of his other thrillers, but you can give them a try. I think they are very similar to Eric Ambler's.
Thanks for the tip. There are so many spy novelists out there, it's hard to choose which one to start off with. I'll give LeCarre a try with the ones you pointed out. Thanks for talking about voice, that's an important detail a reader should know.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:47 PM   #34
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You might look at the grand-daddy of them all - which can be got free from Gutenberg. Jospeh Conrad's "The Secret Agent"
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:39 PM   #35
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You might look at the grand-daddy of them all - which can be got free from Gutenberg. Jospeh Conrad's "The Secret Agent"
Look what I found, right here at MR!

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d+Secret+Agent
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:42 PM   #36
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I've mentioned Charles McCarry in this thread as had another, but I had never read his first novel The Miernik Dossier till now. What a fantastic novel.

Published in 1973 and set in around 1959, it's about several male and female covert agents from different countries and cultures who go on a road trip in a massive Cadillac from Switzerland to Austria and south to the Middle East, trying to keep their cover all the while. It's unlike anything I've read. Great characters. Good stuff. McCarry deserves far more credit.

One warning -- I couldn't find this one as an e-book, but some of his others are e-books. Just had to mention it.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:35 AM   #37
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I'd toss Andrew Britton's name into the hat, for his 'Ryan Kealey' series.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:01 PM   #38
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The absolute best espionage writer that nobody ever reads is Adam Hall (Elleston Trevor). His Quiller series (19 books) is probably the best espionage fiction I've ever read. The writing style can take a bit to get used to, but absolutely nobody is as good at creating suspense with the written word as Trevor.

Vince Flynn is the real deal, although from time-to-time, he can get a bit preachy and that gets tiresome.

To my mind, the best espionage/thriller writer around today is Barry Eisler. His John Rain series (6 books) is absolutely terrific.

Some of David Morrell's books are certainly espionage and, except for Adam Hall, nobody is as good at putting suspense on a written page as Morrell. His trilogy (The Brotherhood of the Rose, The Fraternity of the Stone, and The League of Night and Fog) is not to be missed. First Blood (the novel upon which the first Rambo movie is based) is also an excellent read (and the characters are much more "real" and less cardboard and the story itself is much more a case of shades of grey). You can rarely go wrong with Morrell.

For a bit of "old school" espionage, do yourself a favor and track down some of Charles McCarry's early novels.

Though a bit dated now, Trevanian had several excellent espionage stories (The Eiger Sanction, The Loo Sanction, and Shibumi).

Among new authors, I'd recommend Brett Battles and David Stone.
Quite a few of these authors don't seem to be available as E-books, or my searching capabilities have diminished of lately.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:39 AM   #39
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Has anyone read The Company, by Robert Littell?
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Old 09-18-2010, 03:37 PM   #40
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Hi all,

There's a new, rare and must-see video interview of John Le Carré from BBC 4. Here's the link:

http://www.channel4.com/news/article...philby/3766077

He doesn't give interviews often and claims this is his last, so enjoy.

Steve

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Old 09-18-2010, 10:25 PM   #41
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I watched that interview the other day and couldn't help but think he's getting old and, in one part especially, a little shaky. It makes me think his real reason for not wanting to do more (TV?) interviews is to preserve some dignity while his health is failing. This is merely speculation on my part. I don't deny that interviews can be tiring.

I'm looking forward to reading Our Kind of Traitor soon.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:23 PM   #42
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Has anyone read The Company, by Robert Littell?
The Company by Robert Littell is one of my all time favorite books! It's characters and plot seem real. I felt like I was reading an incredibly interesting true story.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:27 AM   #43
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The Company by Robert Littell is one of my all time favorite books! It's characters and plot seem real. I felt like I was reading an incredibly interesting true story.
I read mixed reviews. I read it, but couldn't finish it because I found that the story was a bit too slow moving. I may make another attempt at a later date.
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #44
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Hi,
I also would agree with LeCarre's novels.. my favorite is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:01 PM   #45
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It's not quite fiction, but it could be -- I'm enjoying Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre, a non-fiction history of an Allied intelligence ruse during WWII that involved planting a dead, faked British officer to wash up on the shores of Spain carrying papers that would fool the enemy about the invasion of Sicily. Lots of nice background about the quirky intelligence officers who cooked up the con, many of whom were novelists and frustrated adventurers.

I usually read (and write) historical espionage fiction but this is doing the trick. It was also a movie called The Man Who Never Was. As far as the characters go, it's about as close to fiction as you can get.

Steve
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